Johann Michael Ernst HOERNER

Unter-Owisheim, Karlsruhe, Baden-Wrttemberg, Deutschland (Germany)
Mar 1785
Hardy co, Va, Usa
Abt 1725
Pa, Usa
Johann Michael Ernest Hoerner and His Harness Children; What the Documents Say

About the year 1740, they removed to Virginia and settled in Hampshire County, now Hardy County West Virginia, about three miles above Moorefield on the place was called Mike's Ford for years. It is now occupied by one of his descendants George Fisher.
Built Fort Harness in 1739. 3 1/2 miles from what is now Moorefield, West Virginia. In May 1756 it was garrisoned by 50 men. Michal's home was 1 1/2 miles from Fort called Hawthorne.
Part of Fort still exists as part of residnece known as Water Edge.

1) Census: 1782 3 free white, 12 slaves
2) Census: 1784 3 free white, 1 dwelling, 3 buildings

"Harnesses came from Germany..." The family referred to did not come from anywhere else, at least with that surname. Instead, the head of the eventual family arrived in New York as Johann Michael Ernst (or Ernst-Hoerner, or vise-versa). Extant records indicate that he seldom, if ever, personally used the name Harness during his lifetime, even marking his name on his 1779 will (proved 1785) as ME. Incidentally, whoever wrote the will spelled the surname Ernest/Ernesst, which suggests that he didn't know German well either. In that will, only the names of his acknowledged sons were given as Harness. Others referred to him as Harness, but not Michael himself that we know of. (Henry Z. Jones, Jr., The Palatine Families of New York (2 vols., Picton Press, 1985), Vol. 1, p. 378; Jones, More Palatine Families (Universal City, CA, 1991), p. 342; Will of Michael "Ernest," Estates File, Hampshire Co., VA; and Hampshire Co., VA, Will Book 2 (1780-1794), pp. 111-113.)
Came down the Rhine River abt 1709 with his father and brothers. He doesn't appear in Pennsylvania until about 1723.

Michael, his wife Elizabeth, and six children moved from Maryland to the South Branch of the Potomac River in Virginia, now West Virginia in 1738.
They built Fort Harness on the South Branch in 1738-39. The fort was located 3 1/2 miles southeast of what is now Moorefield West Virginia.
Information for Michael Harness and Elizabeth Westfall Family is from World Family Tree Maker Volume 3, Tree # 6614 and from A GLIMPSE AT THE PAST, THE HARNESS FAMILY HISTORY a book by Harold Harness.
The following information is from Rick Brown:
Michael Harness was born Johann Michael Eernst Hoerner on 1 Jan 1700 in
Germany, the son of Ludwig Ernest Hoerner of Unter-Owisheim, in the
Wurttemberg Palatine, Germany. Michael d. March ? 1784 or 1785 in what is now
Hardy Co., West Virginia [at that time still a part of Hampshire Co., Va.]
[His will, made in 1779, was proven on 8 Mar 1785.] He married, supposedly
1723 or 1724/5, perhaps in present Berks Co., Pennsylvania, Elizabeth
Dieffenbach, who was baptized as Maria Elisabetha Dieffenbach on 8 July 1705
at Wiesloch, in the Palatine, Germany, the daughter of Johann Conrad & Maria
Barbara (Christler) Dieffenbach, of Wiesloch. Elizabeth may have d. after 1795
in Hardy Co., West Virginia. Michael arrived with his father in New York
Harbor in June 1710, being among several thousand Germans from the German
Palatine that were sent to New York a that time [including his future
father-in-law, Johann Conrad Dieffenbach] by the British. While exactly where
in New York Michael might have lived is unknown, it seems most likely that he
was sent, along with the other German immigrants, to the camp on Governor's
Island, in New York Harbor, and then later in 1710 to camps in the area of
present-day Germantown, in Columbia Co., N.Y., or near Saugerties, in Ulster
Co., N.Y. Late in 1712 he seems to have accompanied some of the German
settlers to the Schoharie Valley, settling near where Middleburgh, in
Schoharie Co., N.Y. is now located. Michael might have lived in the village of
New Ansberg [also called Hartlmansdorf] or perhaps at Ober Weisersdorf. In
1723 or 1724 he joined several other German families from the Schoharie Valley
in the Tulpehocken Settlement, near where Womelsdorf and Stouchsburg, in
present Berks Co., Pennsylvania, is now located, being among the first
settlers of that region. He is known to have been a resident there in 1725
(when he was named on a tax list), 1727 (when he signed a road petition), and
in 1733 (when he witnessed a baptism at Rid Lutheran Church.) Michael was a
landowner there in 1732, possessing property along Tulpehocken Creek, near
where Stouchburg, Pa, is now. Michael Harness journeyed to the South Branch
Valley of Virginia [now West Virginia] reportedly in 1735 or 1743. He is
supposed to have first made a settlement on the South Fork River, later going
to the South Branch of the Potomac River, in what is now Hardy Co., West
Virginia. Michael is sometimes said to have been the first permanent settler
within present Hardy County. Tradition fives us several accounts of the
Harness family's settlement in the South Branch Valley and Hardy Country.
Bettie Fisher related: "In 1737 Lord Fairfax sent out from Winchester, Va.,
Philip Powell Yoakem and 3 other men [said by some others to have also
included Michael Harness] as a prospecting party, to investigate the country.
And they, with the aid of a pocket compass, made a successful thru; and upon
their favorable report, upon their return to Winchester, Va.; Michael Harness,
Sr. with his then little family, and Philip Powell Yoakum 1st & his family
started out the following spring (1738), to settle with their families in the
Valley." George Yocum stated: "My grandfather, Matthias Yocum, Michael
Harness, and George Stump were the first three men that ever brought wagons
down to the South Branch. They came by way of Winchester, then up Big Cacapon
[the Cacapon River], Lost River and to the [South Branch] mountain. Crossing
over the mountain, they came to the South Fork of the South Branch... Michael
Harness moved down onto the main South Branch, four miles above the fork or
[near] where now Moorefield [W. Va.] is." William W. Harness added that
Michael "came to the South Branch about 1735... came from or by the way of
Winchester, Va., came up Cacapon and Lost River as far as Harpers; thence
across South Branch mountain to the South Fork in company with Philip Powel
Yokum, and others... He settled on the South Fork, about where Mr. Judy now
lives, built a cabin there and cleared several acres of bottom land, raised a
small crop of corn and vegetables, went back to Pennsylvania and brought his
family in a wagon up Lost River, cutting a road most of the way. Packing the
goods on horses, left wagon there and with his family crossed the South Branch
mountain on foot to his cabin... Afterwards packed the wagon, running gears
taken apart on his horses and ran the wheels over by hand, it being the first
wagon ever on the South Branch. He afterward moved over on the South
Branch...." In 1873 Helen (Yocum) Black wrote: "Elizabeth Harness a daughter
of Michael Harness at the age of eleven years, left the wagons with punk steel
and tomahawk in hand led the way from Capon Mt. & clearing the road so that
the wagons could pass, went to the S B [South Branch] River, built a fire had
it in readiness when the men got there. Consequently you will see that the
said Elizabeth was the first white woman that trod the Glorious soil of the A
B Potomac..." Michael settled along the west side of the South Branch of the
Potomac River, in what is now Hardy Co., West Virginia, near where the village
of Fisher is now located. He took up land "running from 'Mike's Ford', where
the ridge terminates at the river, down the river (a distance of 5 miles) to
'Buzzard's Ford'" [which is where Fisher, W. Va. is now.] The land that
Michael claimed was soon included within Lord Fairfax's own South Branch
Manor. Michael Harness was named on a "List of Inhabitants in the Lower Part
of the Manor of Wappacomo" [which is the South Branch Manor] dated 18 Aug
1748. Having granted the Manor to himself, Lord Fairfax seldom conveyed
outright ownership of property within it, mostly leases's On 3 Aug 1773 after
having lived there for many years, Michael obtained a lease from Lord Fairfax
for 249 acres in the South Branch Manor, known as Lot No. 49 West [which
appears to have been only a portion of ;the land that he had originally
claimed. However, it seems that many leases for Manor land were given by Lord
Fairfax on that date. Maybe by this time his original claim had been divided
among Michael and some of his children ?] Michael Harness conveyed his rights
to the lease of Lot NO. 49 to his son, Jacob Harness, on 23 Dec 1780 The
Harness family homeplace is supposed to have been about 5 miles southwest of
Moorefield, W. Va., not far from an area known locally as "Mike's Rocks" [a
rocky face on the hillside where "the ridge terminates at the river" or, in
other words, "Mike's Ford." Almost certainly both were named for Michael
Harness.] Near here, about 1 1/2 mile north of his cabin, Michael built Fort
Harness in 1739 to serve as a place of refuge for his family and neighbors
during times of conflict with the Indians. It was ordered garrisoned by George
Washington in the summers of 1756 and 1757 during the French & Indian War.
Portions of the Fort still remain today on the site, which is now knows as
"Water Edge Farm", located about 3 1/2 miles southwest of Moorefield, W. Va.
It is yet owned by descendants of the Harness family Michael was taxed as
resident of Hampshire [which then included present-day Hardy] Co., Va. in
1782, owning 14 slaves, 39 cattle, and 24 horses. He also appears on the 1782
and 1784 census of Hampshire County. In his Will he left his wife 2 slaves,
one third of his property, and one third of "other effects and movables" along
with one third of any money. Giving a slave to his son, Peter, he bequeathed
the rest of his property, slaves, farm tools, and livestock to his youngest
son, Jacob. Michael then divided the remainder of his money equally among all
of his children and two grandchildren. The surname that Michael used went
through numerous changes and combinations over the years. In 1733, when he
witnessed a baptism in the Tulpehocken, he was called "Michael Ernst
Kraft-Horner." He was Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner" when his daughter was
baptized in the South Branch Valley in 1743 and "Johann Michael Hoerner" when
he served on a coroner's inquest there in 1749. He was referred to as "Michael
Ernst" in Pennsylvania in 1725, 1727 and 1732, but only once in Virginia, when
Moravian missionaries visited him in 1749. However, this is what he called
himself when he made his Will in 1779. In 1737 his wife was referred to as
"Maria Elizabeth Ernst" in her father's Will. "Michael Earnest" was a buyer at
a sale held along the South Branch in 1757. Most often his name is given as
"Michael Harness" [sometimes spelled as Harnis, Harnes, or Harns] in numerous
Virginia records during the 1740's and 1750's; the earliest known use
occurring on 18 June 1747 when he was an appraiser of the estate of John
Bogard on the South Branch. With a few exceptions, all of his children were
always called "Harness." Tradition relates that Eliazabeth Harness once killed
an Indian with an axe as he came through the door of the cabin. She is most
likely the "Widow Harness" that is found on the 1785 tax list of Hampshire
Co.,Va. [which at that time included what is now Hardy Co., W. Va.], then
possessing 2 slaves, 4 horses, and 19 head of cattle. In 1786 "Widow Harness"
owned 83 acres of land in Hardy Country. She is probably also the Elizabeth
Harness who was taxed in Hardy Co., Va. in 1787 (again having 2 slaves, 4
horses, and 19 cattle), 1788, and in 1795. It is said that Michael & Elizabeth
Harness, along with other family members, were buried in a family graveyard
located on the hill in back of their cabin. No trace of this cemetery can be
found today.

Names of wife and children from Last will and testament, dated 1779, probated March 8, 1785, Hampshire County, Virginia: wife, Elizabeth, children: Jacob, John, George, Leonard, Peter, Elizabeth Yoakum, Barbara Zee, Dorothy Hornbeck, Margaret Trumbo; grandson Michael, and granddaughter, Elizabeth Robinson; granddaughter, Barbara Zee; son in law, Samuel Hornbeck


Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner was the son of a Ludwig Ernst Hoerner of the village of Unter-Owissheim in today's Baden-Wurtemberg, located 2 kilometers east of the town of Bruchsal, just 11 miles east of the Rhine River, and about 20 miles almost due south of Heidelberg.1 Although there is no previous connection known, Michael's village was but 15 miles south of Wiesloch, the home of his future wife, Maria Elisabetha Dieffenbach.2 We know nothing of his mother, but we do know that he had an older sister, Anna Margaretha, and an older brother, Johann Conrad Mattheus.3 These four arrived in New York City by 1 July 1710, where they appeared as No. 299 in Governor Robert Hunter's subsistence list. Within about 2 months of arrival, the father was dead, leaving Margaretha about to be married to a fellow townsman from Unter-Owissheim (Johannes Kayser), Conrad Mattheus, age 15, and Michael, not yet 10.4

After Ludwig's death and the sister's marriage, young Conrad temporarily seemed to have been in charge of the younger Michael; but, on 23 November, the Governor apprenticed Conrad to a local man, leaving Michael to find a new "home." By the end of December, a young person of his age had joined the subsistence list of the young Kayser couple and his mother, probably at West Camp, north of present Saugerties.5 Michael, then just 10, seemed to have remained with his sister's family until at least the end of September 1712.

We found no documents that were at all definite about Michael's whereabouts between 1712, when he was along the Hudson River in New York, and his well-documented residence along Tulpehocken Creek in southeastern Pennsylvania by 1725. The only possibility, in light of later developments, was presented by Ulrich Simmendinger in his Register (1717), where he located the Kayser family and the family of Michael's eventual wife, the Dieffenbachs, in adjoining villages among the seven Schoharie Valley settlements, made by many of the Germans who left the Livingston (East Camp) and West Camp settlements. They moved again after the failure of the naval stores venture up the Hudson, and after Governor Hunter had to halt subsistence to the Palatines after 1712.6 The Kaysers later moved to the Stone Arabia Patent along the Mohawk River. About the same time, 1722/3, the first group of Germans left the Schoharie "dorfs" for the Tulpehocken region. We do know that the Dieffenbachs arrived there by 1725. It is not unthinkable that Michael Ernst, then in his early 20s, was among the first or second group to Pennsylvania.7

Among his German countrymen on the Tulpehocken, Michael usually was recorded in documents simply as Michael Ernst, as he was on 10-11 January 1725/6 and 2-4 January 1726/7 on the tax assessments for landowners in Tulpehocken Township, Chester County. His name on the September 1727 petition by Tulpehocken settlers for a road to be established to Oley, in the next township, was a more full "Michgael" Ernst Herner.8 Another list of settlers, compiled from early land deeds and patents in that township by C. I. Lindemuth, listed Michael Ernst as a patent holder, but a map of the patents drawn by Lindemuth and dated 1723, was of some date after 1728. Nevertheless, Michael's land straddled Tulpehocken Creek and was the second lot west of the Fells Manor line, and just the third lot east of a similarly situated lot belonging to Conrad "Diffebach."9 The last occasion in that community that resulted in his full name on a document was the baptism of Johann Michael Riedt [Reed], Jr., at the well-known Reed's Church shortly after young Riedt's birth on 18 December 1733. At this time, his name as sponsor was entered in the Church Book as "Michael Ernst Kraft-Horner [with an umlaut over the "o"]." The additional name Kraft seems to ha
Maria Elizabetha DIEFFENBACH
Abt 1705
Hardy co, Va, Usa
Johann Michael Ernest Hoerner and His Harness Children; What the Documents Say
                   Left Germany

As in several of these studies, there are very few documents that relate directly to a given family member. So it is for the young woman who married Michael Ernst, Maria Elisabetha Dieffenbach, usually called Elizabeth, even by her intensely German father in his 1737 will.24 The only document of major significance for her is that will. He identifies her in the third paragraph as one of his "Daughters, Maria Elizabeth Ernst...." A search of data and studies referring to the Tulpehocken settlement from its beginning to the time of the will discloses but one Ernst, a near neighbor named Michael Ernst. Although at least one other Ernst family would come into a neighboring area several years later, from the time the first 1710 immigrant Palatines from the Schoharie arrived about 1723, the basic Tulpehocken settlement was home to Michael Ernst and the Dieffenbach family. Michael's name appeared with that of Johann Conrad Dieffenbach on the 1725/6 and 1726/7 lists of tax assessments in Tulpehocken Township, and on the Oley Road petition of 1727.25 Not too surprisingly we suppose, not another single extant document contains Elisabetha's surname. Only Michael's 1779 will contains her name at all, and then it is only her given name, anglicized as Elizabeth.26

Once we have found her as Elizabeth Ernst, and know of her father, what, then, do the documents tell us about this Maria Elisabetha Dieffenbach? First, one tells us that she was baptized on 8 July 1705 at the Reformed Church in Wiesloch, Baden, Germany,27 and that she left Wiesloch for America with her family on 15 May 1709.28 Others show she was one of the 3 children with the family in the 4th party on Capt. John Sewell's ship in Rotterdam in 1709;29 and she was the 4 year old daughter with her family among the 4th arrivals in London that same year.30 Still others indicate she was the one person under 10 in the household of her father in New York on 1 July 1710; and the one person under 10 on 4 Oct 1710 and on 25 March 1712, still in New York.31 Finally, she was one of the family recorded by Ulrich Simmendinger at the Palatine village of Neu-Ansberg up the Hudson River in 1716/7.32 From this time on, based on what we know of her father's movements and his identification of her in his will as Ernst, we are comfortable saying that Elizabeth and her mother and siblings were with her father for a few years along the Schoharie River in New York; and, of course, when they made their way with their belongings, about 1724, from the Schoharie, by way of the Susquehanna River and the Swatara, to their final destination, Tulpehocken Creek, in what then was Chester County, Pennsylvania.33

Although there is no way of knowing when, Elizabeth and Michael Ernst (Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner) must have married between 1720 and 1725, either on the Schoharie River or on Tulpehocken Creek. The only other evidence of that marriage is indirect: her sister, Anna Dorothea, coming from Tulpehocken to the South Branch to sponsor an Ernst daughter at her baptism in late 1743. Also, although there is no specific proof to be found, some of their children, perhaps as many as six, must have been born on the Tulpehocken.34 Elizabeth rather disappears from view after her mention in her father's 1737 will. The next mention of her is in Michael's will of 1779, in which she is guaranteed, by given name, her dower rights and two named slaves.35 Six years later, in the year of Michael's death, 1785, she is referred to for the first time, in the rather new Personal Property Tax Lists, as "Widow Harness." 36 Each year through 1796, she was listed in the new Hardy County as Elizabeth Harness, who paid taxes on horses, cattle and one or two slaves.37 It has been the author's experience in using these particular tax records that they are accurate in reflecting the departure and arrival of individuals in these two counties. Since there is no reason to believe that Elizabeth Harness, then at age 90, moved from Hardy County in 1796 to another state or region; and, because her name does not reappear in the tax books, we may conclude that she died in the latter half of 1796, or before April or May of 1797. This is the only clue we yet have to her time of death.38 Therefore, we know very little about Elizabeth Ernst, nee Dieffenbach, from documents.

It is instructive, from time to time, to reexamine the extent to which people will go, without a shred of evidence, to provide an identity for an ancestor. No scrap is too nebulous to be used, no lack of reality too extreme. Such would seem to be the case with what descendants have said about Elizabeth Ernst. The absence of knowledge about her has not deterred Harness descendants from developing brief accounts of her life and lineage. It is quite apparent from a review of the known collections of Harness family material and known published works that no serious or knowledgeable research was done previously on the subject of Elizabeth Dieffenbach Ernst.39 The widely known Helen Yoakum Black letters to America Ann Anderson and Jesse Cunningham illustrate how quickly Elizabeth's particulars were forgotten or ill-remembered. Mrs. Black, a great-granddaughter of Michael and Elizabeth, through these letters, has passed on to other Harness descendants much of the good data they have had about the first two generations of that family. See The Letters of Helen Yoakum Black Transcripts and Footnotes by Sara Stevens Patton (November 1999); and a third one, thought to be a nearly uncorrupted version of Patton's "1878" letter, but clearly dated May 30, 1873. Unfortunately, too many descendants use these as "gospel." All three contain many errors of fact and cannot be used to document anything without corroboration. Nothing she says about Elizabeth is quite correct. First, the only thing that might have been correct was that Elizabeth and Michael were married in Pennsylvania; but, this has not been documented. Then, Helen wrote that Elizabeth had been born in that state, was a relative of William Penn, that her mother had descended from European royalty, and that Elizabeth's surname had been "Tephebogh," or "Tapheby" or "Jephebe," or even Zephebe."40

We can see in these ill-remembered surnames a reflection of the problems encountered by her father during his years in North America. The first following list is a sequence of actual attempts English clerks, with no knowledge of German, made to convert what they heard him say, in German, was his surname -Dieffenbach:41

1702 -Dieffenbach (Wiesloch) 1717 -Dieffenbach
1709 -thirffenback (Rotterdam) 1718 -Divebak (on Hudson R.)
1709 -Tieffenbach (London) 1725 -Diffenbach (PA)
1710 -Dievenbach (NY) 1737 -Tiffebough (PA)
1716 -Jefbach (NY, Albany) 1737 -Tiffebogh, John Cynraed(PA)

This was the exact clerk/copyist sequence of their writing of the surname of one Dieffenbach family in Bedford County, Pennsylvania:

1750 -Dieffenbach (Germany) 1784 -Tevebaugh
1772 -Defebaugh (PA) 1785 -Diefenbach
1773 -Devabaugh  1790 -Devenbaugh
1774 -Develbaugh  1792 -Davinbaugh
1775 -Twinbaugh  1799 -Deffenbaugh
1776 -Davebaugh  1799 -Deffenbach
1779 -Devonbaugh  1800 -Defibaugh
1783 -Devebaugh  1800 -Devebaugh

One might say that Helen Black may have remembered the vowel and consonant sounds in a way similar to the record-keepers. The initial consonant sound would have been either "D" or "T.;" the "ie" would have a long "e" sound and be spelled that way; the "ff" would carry an "f" or a "ph" sound, which a speaker of Celtic background might write as a "v;" and the "bach" a Celt would write as "bogh" or "baugh." Therefore, Helen Black or an 18th century clerk using "Tephebogh" or "Devebaugh" should be neither too surprising nor too confusing. It should be kept in mind, however, that all such spellings derived from Elizabeth's surname, not the other way around. None preceded it.42

The foregoing somewhat detailed exploration of what county record-keepers of the 18th century did to this immigrant surname is offered to help explain why Harness descendants might have had difficulty with Elizabeth's surname. Another factor probably was more significant, that no one had put her maiden name in circulation after 1797, if they ever were clear about it in the first place. Then, along came Black's attempts at it, which coincided with the great outburst of interest by Americans in their origins. In the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s, publishing companies scoured the countryside for customers for their biographical and historical accounts of one or more counties. Buy a book, write your own history of your family In them, comfort and success became easily attributable to the character, fortitude and "blue blood" of their ancestors. Grandiose family traditions blossomed on every page; a foreign name stirred visions of noble ancestors. One such desperately imagined story about Elizabeth was sent by a Moorefield Harness descendant to the Virkus, Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy, which identified her as Elizabeth "Jephebe," and went on to "clarify" that this surname was a shortened version of "Jejeebhoy of India." Elizabeth was now adorned with greater mystery and a connection with the far-flung British Empire. We suppose it must be said, however, that all such statements about her place of birth, her descent from royalty and relationship to William Penn have no documentary basis whatever, and sound more like late 19th and early 20th century dreams of small town social climbers who needed more status from family traditions, and so "improved" them.43

Contrary to the reflected glory of an illustrious and imaginary ancestor, Harness descendants now know who Maria Elisabetha Dieffenbach really was. This wife of Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner was born in 1705, a daughter of a German cooper from Baden, who brought her, her mother and her siblings to New York in 1710. They moved on to the banks of the Tulpehocken, a small stream in southeastern Pennsylvania, early in the 1720s. She married another German immigrant and, by 1740 or so, resided on the bank of the South Branch of the Potomac River. She gave birth to 13 children, lost 3 or 4 to Indian attacks during her middle years, survived her husband by over a decade, died in the mid-1790s, and soon was forgotten.44

24. Will of "Johan Conrad Tiffebogh [Johann Conrad Dieffenbach]," 22 July 1737 at Tulpehocken, probated in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 11 Oct 1738. This was indexed at the Courthouse as the will of "John Cynraed Tiffebogh;" and it was translated, poorly, from the original German by one Christian Graff, 19 June 1739. Despite Graff's translation, the original will clearly was signed "Johan conrad Dieffenba [the last two letters covered by his seal]."

25. Annette K Burgert, comp., A Research Guide to the Tulpehocken Region; Lancaster (Now Berks and Lebanon) Counties. PA (c. 1994, Myerstown, PA), pp. 6, 7, 8-9. Although Burgert did not read Michael's name clearly as Ernst, others do. It is quite likely that Elizabeth and Michael were married during the years of these assessments and petition.

26. "Will of Michael ME Ernest," 1779, proved 8 March 1785 in the Hampshire County, Virginia, Court; Probate Case Papers, Romney, West Virginia.

27. Reformed Churchbook, Wiesloch [Henry Jones No. 6908], Baden. This and subsequent pinpointing of her journey with her family are found in Henry Z. Jones, Jr., The Palatine Families of New York; A Study of the German Immigrants Who Arrived in Colonial New York in 1710 (2 vols., Universal City, CA, 1985), I, pp. 157-159; II, pp. 1207-1211.

28. Jones, I, p. 158.

29. "Palatine Embarkation Lists From Rotterdam. Holland, 1709," in the Public Records Office, London, England, as cited in Jones, I, p. 158; II p. 1210.

30. "Lists of Germans From the Palatinate Who Came to England in 1709," Tribbeko and Ruperti, P. R. O., London, as cited in Jones, I, p. 158; II, p. 1209.

31. "N.Y. Palatine Subsistence Lists of Governor Robert Hunter 1710-1712", P. R. O., London, as cited in Jones, I, p. 158; II p. 1208.

32. "Simmendinger Register," compiled by Ulrich when he and his wife returned to Germany, cited in Jones, I, p. 158; II, p. 1211.

33. Ray J. Dieffenbach and George L. Irgang, Johann Conrad Dieffenbach of Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania (Elizabethtown, PA, 1982, 1983), pp. 5-7. The mother's name had been Maria Barbara Christler, originally from Switzerland, whom Conrad married in the Reformed Church in Wiesloch on Christmas Day, 1702. Ray is considered the foremost authority on the Dieffenbach families in America; George, also a Dieffenbach descendant and historian, was instrumental in locating Conrad's will in Philadelphia.

34. The most important support for this conclusion is the age at which the boys began adult activities. Please consult the studies of the sons that are part of this work. There is no documentary proof of the specific birth dates for any of their children, despite descendants making up such dates. Even the year of birth is known for only one child, Dorothea (born in 1741). For Dorothea's baptism, see footnote 13.

35. See footnote 26, above. It is usual, at this time, for wives to be invisible, except in deeds where they have a legal marital interest in the land. What seems so unusual about Elizabeth is her immediate descendants' complete lack of knowledge about her name and origins. This important woman has suffered the ultimate rejection by the family into which she married, and for whom she gave birth to 13 children and nurtured them in childhood. How sad that for some 275 years since her marriage, no descendant has even known what her maiden name had been.

36. Hampshire County, Virginia, Personal Property Tax Lists, 1782-1841, in the State Archives, Library of Virginia, Richmond; 1785 List, p. 8. Virginia initiated this new tax in 1782 for all citizens.

37. Hardy County, Virginia, Personal Property Tax Books, 1786-1861, in the State Archives, Library of Virginia, Richmond. Each year's taxable articles for her, 1786-1796, varied only slightly.

38. One or two experienced researchers in West Virginia are investigating a different possibility: that Elizabeth died earlier, and Michael married another woman named Elizabeth, who left a late 1798 will and who died in 1802. Thus far, they have found no direct or solid proof. Until such proof has been uncovered, we must assume that Maria Elisabetha Dieffenbach Ernst died as mentioned in the text above. Had she died earlier, it seems that Helen Black or someone else, would have commented, even in passing.

39. These include the Florence Dyke Papers at the State Library of Ohio, at Columbus [probably the most informative of the lot]; the massive, unwieldy Ernest Bracken's LaPorte, Indiana, Scrapbook [first 4 vols.], at the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library, Ft.Wayne, IN; Harness materials at the Hardy County Public Library, Moorefield, WV; Harold Duncan Harness, A Glimpse of the Past: The Harness Family History (Baltimore, c. 1983), the disappointing one quarter of it that is not taken up by his autobiography; Helen L. Harness, The Harness Heritage; Michael Harness. 1701-1785. and Descendants through the Direct Line of William Harness, (1983); and numerous small collections and short written accounts used to commemorate much later Harnesses.

40. Helen Black, Letter to Jesse Cunningham, Honey Grove, Fanen [Fannin] Co., Tex[as], May 30, 1873; at the Hardy County Public Library, Moorefield, WV. Patton's two letters carry dates of 29 Oct 1872 and 30 May 1878 [?1873].

41. All variations visited on the surname of Johann Conrad Dieffenbach are from Ray J. Dieffenbach and George L. Irgang, Johann Conrad Dieffenbach of Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania (EIizabethtown, PA, 1982, 1983). The following Bedford County data is a selection from "Bedford County, Colrain Twp. Taxables," Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 14, No. 1, p. 34; Pennsylvania Archives, 3rd Series, Vol. 22, pp. 16, 67, 90, 138, 174 211, 281; Vol. 25, pp. 492
Tulpehoken Creek, Berks co, Pa, Usa
20 Aug 1763
Welton's Meadow, Lunice Creek, Hampshire co, Va, Usa
Abt 1749
Augusta co, Va, Usa 
                   	1  CAUS Killed and scalped by the Indians and carried to Fort. Died in presence of his mother.
John L. Tevebaugh


Michael's name was the first of the names to appear in an extant public document. The somewhat uncomplimentary occasion was documented in an Augusta County, Virginia, court suit of Richard Crunk vs Michael Harness, et al., begun as early as April or May 1747. Crunk accused Michael and several other young men from the South Branch Valley of the Potomac River of trespass and assault. The case slowly made its way through the court dockets until 20 August that year, when all the accused consulted with the plaintiff and agreed to pay his costs if the suits were dropped. The case ended with that decision, and the Court Order Book recorded no further details. It would seem that the occasion involved younger men of Michael's age, rather than of the age of his father.45

There is no documented birth date for young Michael, despite so many having been assigned for him by descendants of the family. It is likely that he had attained his majority by the time of the suit; and consequently, that he had been born in the Tulpehocken settlement in Pennsylvania, where his parents had lived before coming to the South Branch. Had he turned 21 a year or so before the suit, he might have been the Michael Harness who was ordered by the Augusta County Court to inventory the John Bogard estate on 18 June 1747. 46

Like his father, Michael, Jr., was active among his neighbors assisting in the appraisement of their estates and offering surety for their administrator's bonds. His first documented involvement was when he witnessed the last will and testament of one Jacob "Wevebaught," of the lower part of the South Branch Valley, in January 1750/1, when that area was part of Frederick County, Virginia.47 There is no question here that young Michael was the person involved, for the clerk or copyist not only wrote the name clearly, but added a signature mark, "M," and added a "Junor" when it was copied into the formal will book after its proof on 13 August 1751. It was done that way again when Michael was recorded as surety for the widow, Margaret, on the 18th.48

Only his second involvement with an estate was with that of his new father-in-law, Eurie Westfall, who was, with his wife Blandina, a relative new-comer to the South Branch area.49 This couple, said to have married in 1719 in Kingston, Esopus County, New York, had some six children, at least one of whom, a daughter named Catharine, came with them to Augusta County, Virginia.50 Were it not for an almost incidental comment in the Court Order Book, we might never have known of his relationship with that family. When naming the Administrator of Eurie's will, it reads: "Michael Harness (soninlaw of Eurie Westfall) moved according to law to be named Admr of the Estate. Court granted him Certificate for letters of Admin."51 This statement was crucial to validate the full identification of Michael's wife and children later.

On the very same day his administrator's bond for the Westfall Estate was approved, he signed as surety for a fellow administrator, Benjamin Scot, who returned the favor to young Michael on his bond.52 This one occasion provides an excellent example of how the lack of thought by copyists could provide confusing leads to the identification of an individual. On 22 March 1753, in the same court record of two successive events, we find the same person's name written six different ways: "Michael M Harness," "Michael Harns," "Michael MH Harns," "Michael MH Harness," "Michael Harness, Jr.," and "Michael Harness(soninlaw . . .)." There were at least two spelling varieties on each page. Such careless recording of surnames on documents is made worse for researchers when there are other persons living in the area with surnames such as Harris, Hanna, Horn and Horner; it is even more confusing when the father of young Michael is frequently referred to only as "Michael Harness."53

Later in 1753, Michael's wife suffered another blow when her mother died. On 21 November 1753, court records disclose the return of an inventory of the estate of Blandina Westfall to the court, and that "Michael Harnes Administrator" had sold the contents. It had been valued at L95, consisted mostly of livestock, and probably represented also what remained of Eurie's estate.54

With the advent of Hampshire County after 1753 as their new controlling county government, Michael Harness, Jr., adopted a new signature mark, "Michael + Harness," with the cross often exaggerated and with the cross-bar sloping slightly down on the right side. It first was found used in December 1757, when young Michael assumed the administration of his brother Conrad's estate.55 We see the mark again the next February when he and William Cunningham guaranteed the bond of George See, when George began the administration of his wife's estate.56 One year later, to the day, Michael appeared in the Hampshire court with his frequent associate, Henry Lancisco, to provide surety for neighbor Bastian Hagler, Administrator of the Jacob Hagler Estate. This time he "signed" as "Michael + Harness, Jr.,'' as he would do twice more that same day when his father, "Michael M E Harness" was appointed administrator of the estates of his brothers Adam and Jacob Harness.57 This double tragedy for the family seems to have left its mark. As was true of the father, Michael Ernst, also was true for his namesake; neither of them thereafter could be found involved with administrations of estates. The next and last records for Michael Harness, Jr., suggest that, with the departure of the French and their Indian allies from the Northern Neck, he had begun to acquire land around the "Luney's" Creek area, north and west of [later] Petersburg. Two parcels of 202 and 143 acres were bought by him in 1762 from David Craige, who had already had their bounds determined by surveyor John Moffett late in 1760 and 1761. A third parcel of 125 acres he had Moffett survey early in 1761. Michael had piloted the survey team for the last one, and had served as chain carrier for Craige's 143 aces.58

The life of Michael Harness, Jr., came to a sudden end on 20 August 1763. The newspaper, New York Post Boy, reported in its 6 October 1763 issue that Michael and Jonathan Welton were killed on that date by Indians in Welton's meadow, on "Loony's [now Lunice] Creek" in the colony of Virginia.59 It was not until 25 February 1764 that Catharine Harness had her Administratrix's Bond secured by John Harness and Nathaniel Kuykendall, and accepted by the Hampshire County Court.60

Because Harness descendants for so very long could not separate the life of Michael Ernst, whom they exclusively referred to as Michael Harness, from the life of Michael Harness, Jr., they also could not decide, to everyone's satisfaction, the identity of Jr.'s wife. One candidate for many years was a Catherine Van Meter, for whom no confirming evidence was ever found. Occasionally someone would confuse the two Michaels long enough to place an Elizabeth Westfall, whose existence they could not even document, with Junior. Later, the correctly named daughter of Eurie and Blandina Westfall was recognized as the wife of whichever Michael Harness it was who was called the son-in-law of the two Westfalls. Finally, most descendants recognized Catharine Westfall as the wife of Michael Harness, Jr. Very, very few Harness descendants have come close at all to the names of the children of this couple. Only a small handful of descendants today are certain who those children were. Yet, anyone who had looked for Harness in Hampshire County Deed Book 4 (1773-1778) would have found, on pages 203 and 209, the name of Michael's direct heir at law, and the name of the next husband of Michael's widow. Using that husband's name, Abraham Kuykendall, and by following through his deeds and will, even the casual searcher would have found the other two children.61 The answer was under their noses for over 200 years.

Under Virginia Law, the sole heir of an intestate at that time was the eldest son, which in this case was Adam Harness, as noted clearly in the above deeds. Another son, Isaac, was mentioned in Kuykendall's will as the recipient of half of Kuykendall's "plantation" after the death of Isaac's mother, Catharine. One explanation has been advanced that Isaac may have been devised land on 20 February 1777 in Abraham's will; but, it probably was the same Isaac said to have been killed the next September in a militia ambush. In that case, Isaac would have ceased to be a will factor before the will was proved in 1779.62 There is no further record of Isaac in the Kuykendall-Harness documents. The other child was Sarah Harness, also named in Kuykendall's will, who inherited money and land in that will. She married, probably before 1782, a Luke Decker. Luke, Sarah, the widow Catharine Kuykendall, and eventually Adam Harness and his family, moved from the South Branch to near Vincennes, in the Northwest Territory, the first three about 1784, and Adam at the end of the 1790s.63

The Michael Harness, Jr., Estate took a long time to be settled. It was not until 21 and 22 January, 1765, that his estate was appraised, and not until 11 June that year that it was returned to the Hampshire County Court for recording.64 It was an extensive inventory, including livestock, two slaves, clothing, household goods and farm implements. It was appraised at about £575. For whatever reason, the final settlement with Catharine was not made until 1782, and accepted by her shortly thereafter.65 The settlement may have been concluded as part of her preparation for leaving for the West.

Now, it may help to summarize the key elements in this study of the young man called Michael Harness, Jr. No documented birth date has yet been found, yet several documents suggest that it was in the 1720s in the Tulpehocken settlement. We know the date his estate administration was approved in Hampshire County, Virginia; and, the New York newspaper offers what seems a valid date for his death. Use of deed records, court order books and estate documents, especially wills and appraisements, confirm: (1) the various names by which he legally was identified, and the means to distinguish him from his father; (2) his active social and legal involvement in his region; (3) the identity of his wife and children, and his wife's parents; (4) his acquisition of land; and (5) his contacts with his father and some of his older siblings, and confirms their identity and some of their personal data. The principal focus of this study has been on the Ernst/Harness son, and not on his wife and children, even though several documents with which to pursue them were identified. Underlying this entire study was the use of original documents from the counties which had jurisdiction over the South Branch area.

45. Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order Book 1, pp. 227, 230, 263 [LDS microfilm # 0030374]. Among the others were James Coil, Henry Servis [?], and Henry Lancisco, who were in their twenties and of the generation of Michael, Jr., not of the generation of the father, Michael Ernst. Crunk was plaintiff in a number of similar suits at this time. It is possible, of course, that the one defendant was Ernst, but we probably will never know; our usual measure, signature marks or more full identification, was not provided by the copyist. Ernst, by then in his mid-forties, probably would have been too involved with family responsibilities on the South Branch to get into trouble east of the mountains in the Shenandoah valley.

46. Court Order Book 1, p. 221 [LDS microfilm # 0030374]. The copyist wrote the name "Michell Harnis" in the Augusta County Will Book 1, p. 77 [LDS microfilm # 0030314]. As noted in the study of Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner, there is no clear evidence to identify father or son here.

47. "Will of Jacob Wevebaught", 7 January 1750/1, Frederick County, Virginia, Will Book I, pp. 472-473. When this will was copied into the formal will book, the clerk wrote young Michael's name as "Michael M Harness, Junor," his first recorded signature mark. The "M" and the "Junor," and a "Jr.," would appear from time to time as part of his mark until shortly before his death. These often were in some combination with the "+" he used on Hampshire County documents. Jacob Wevebaught is thought to be the Johann Jacob Dieffenbach who was a half-brother of Michael's mother; and whose surname spelling was just reaching the final stage of its transition by record-keepers to Tevebaugh.

48. "Waveboughts' Admx Bond," 18 August 1751, Frederick County, Virginia, Will Book 1, pp. 473-474.

49. There is some confusion about the given name of Westfall, because Lyman Chalkley, in his magisterial and sometimes error-prone, Chronicles of the Scotch-lrish Settlement of Virginia: Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County. 1745-1800 (3 vols., Baltimore, 1965),111, p. 58 [and elsewhere] refers to this Westfall as "Euric." That is his incorrect reading of the nick-name of "Jurien," or George in English. It actually is spelled "Eurie" in the Augusta County Court Order Book 3, n.p. [p. 424], and in Will Book 1, pp. 490-491.

50. "The Jurien Westfall Family," in Virginia Carpenter Jansen and George Jansen, Jr., Westfall Ancestry of the Jansen Daughters (1996-), p. 43. The Jansens list Catharine's birth date as 17 November 1728, but cite no document. Although she was listed as the fourth of six children, there is no record indicating whether Eurie and Blandina brought other children with them. the Jansens also note that when a son, Simon, had his first child baptized in Minnisink, New York, on 23 April 1744, Eurie and Blandina were listed in the church records as the sponsors.

51. Court Order Book 3, n.p. [p. 424].

52. Court order Book 3, n.p. [p. 421], and Will Book 1, pp. 491-492.

53. See Order Book and Will Book citations in notes 51 and 52 above.

54. Will Book I, pp. 524-525. We have no idea if the deaths of Catharine's parents were due to Indian attacks connected with the French and Indian War then raging throughout the valley, disease or physical deterioration. Eurie was not yet 60 when he died. The estate value probably represents a valuation in Virginia pounds, not English.

55. "Administrator's Bond, Estate of Conrad Harness, dec'd," 14 December 1757, Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 4 [LDS microfilm # 0186352]. As pointed out in the study of Conrad, finding this bond for his estate pushes his death some 7 years earlier than previously thought by most descendants. What Harness family historians previously had seized upon as the time of Conrad's death actually was when brother John assumed the administration in 1764, after the death of Michael, the first administrator.

56. Loc. cit., "Administrator's Bond, Estate of Margaret See, dec'd," 14 February 1758.

57. Administrator's Bonds, Estate of Jacob Hagler, Estate of Adam Harness, and Estate of Jacob Harness, 14 February 1759, Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 4 [LDS microfilm # 0186352]. Henry "Lansiscus," and "Lansisco" was co-surety for each bond.

58. These warrants are abstracted in Peggy Shomo Joyner, comp., Abstracts of Virginia's Northern Neck Warrants and Surveys, Vol. IV, Hampshire. Berkeley, . . . and Lancaster Counties. 1697-1784, (1987), pp. 26-27. Two of these tracts were sold by Michael's heir, Adam, in 1777 and 1778; see Hampshire County Deed Book 4, pp. 203, 209. Even these abstracts tell a lot about the family's history.

59. Kenneth Scott, "Genealogical Data from the New York Post Boy, 1743-1773," National Genealogical Society, Special Publications, No. 35 (1970), p. 95. Although it is an unexpected bit of data from a surprising source, there is no reason to question its validity. The few previous writers who have used this source here have not cited it correctly.

60. "Administratrix's Bond, Estate of Michael Harness, 
Tulpehocken Creek, Berks co, Pa, Usa
28 Mar 1804
Pansy, Grant co, Va, Usa
Hardy co, Va, Usa 
                   Hardy co, VA

Great grand mother Harness18 descended from the royal blood of Europe. Her daughter, Elizabeth Harness was eleven years when she left her fathers wagons on Capon Mt. and with tomahawk, spunk and steel in hand cut a road down to the river and had a fire made ready to cook when the men, wagons and stock arrived. Consequently she had the honor of being the first white woman that set foot on that lovely soil. She always wore Irish linen chemises and silk handkerchiefs. They were pioneers, but rich and knew no one and accidentally hit that land where milk and honey flowed.

letters of Helen Yoakum Black
Abt 1728
Tulpehocken Creek, Berks co, Pa, Usa
Near Fort Harness, Hardy co, Va, Usa
                   or 1758	1  CAUS Killed and scalped by the Indians and carried to the Fort.

Scalped by Indians. Harness, Harold, The Harness Family History, p. 8 (Gateway Press, Baltimore 1983)(; accord, Westfall, Ann, Westfall Genealogy, p. 2

John L. Tevebaugh


Died in the presence of his mother but not in the same year as his brother.

Conrad's name was the second of the names to appear in a public public document.66 This occurred in Augusta County among the members of the well-known Samuel Decker Coroner's jury which met on 14 April 1749 on the South Branch of the Potomac River.67 Conrad was identified, with his father, as a "Hoerner." There are several facts about Conrad and his family that logically derive from this document: (a) that the use of the surname, "Harness," for the boys in that family had not yet, in 1749, become a fixed practice; (b) because the father was identified on that jury list as "Johann Michael Hoerner," it firmly identifies that Michael as Conrad's father;68 and (c) that Conrad's age by April of 1749 was at least 21, because 18th century Virginia law required that to serve in that capacity, or to enter into deeds or bonds or many other formal public instruments and relationships a person had to be at least that age.69

Being at least 21 by early 1749 also means that he had been born several years before the family left Tulpehocken, and born before that area was considered a part of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.70 The considerable time that Conrad resided in the succeeding Lancaster County opens the possibility that he may have married before coming to Virginia. No documents have yet been found even to hint when he married or to whom. Family tradition tells us that he married a Mary/Molly Yoakum/Yocum and had a daughter, both of whom were killed when he was. But, there is absolutely no proof of a wife's name or child's gender. Only the inventory and appraisement of Conrad's estate showed such personal items as "two womans Gowns," four Pettycoats" and "Childs Cloaths" to testify to a marriage and a child.71

The death of Conrad has been the focus of three long-standing traditions in the Harness family. Probably the most often quoted story comes from an interview with Conrad's nephew, George Trumbo, done sometime in the 1830s in Bath County, Kentucky. This was part of a collection of interviews by John D. Shane, whose collection ended up as part of the famous Draper Manuscripts.72 George's birth twelve years later to Conrad's sister would normally have placed him in an advantageous position to hear the story told by the closest family members as he grew up along the South Branch.73 But, there are two other contributors to the tradition. One was the most generally quoted source for Harness tradition, Helen Yoakum Black, who was born at the very end of the 1700s and was a granddaughter of one of Conrad's sisters. Helen's letters in the 1880s to other descendants have served as the most prominent source of family tradition and detail. The third contributor to the family tradition, apparently not nearly as widely used as Black, was William Fisher, another grandchild of a sibling of Conrad.74 These three tradition bearers provide an interesting mix of stories about the deaths of Conrad and his family. Trumbo's tale was basically that he and his wife and child, on their way home from church after the child's christening, were set upon by Indians and all killed. Black does not repeat this, but instead told an elaborate story about finding the bodies of wife and child. Fisher told an entirely different story about the deaths in his early 1879 letter. His account completely changed the circumstances of the deaths, and even had the wife rescued from the Indians after the child's death.

How do we use these stories? What kind of documentation do they provide for Conrad and his family? The answer is: virtually none All the three agree upon is that Conrad and his wife had a child, and that Conrad and the child were killed before the incident ended. That much was told us with as much validity by the inventory of his estate. That is the only documentation we have in addition to the administrator's bond. All the interesting and conflicting detail must be left in the realm of legend until something valid is found to corroborate it.

Married early or later, Conrad was active in public affairs during the years on the South Branch under Augusta County regulation, and well into 1755.75 On 28 November 1750, Conrad, referred to here as "Harness," was one of 4 men, perhaps including his father, ordered by the Augusta Court to "value and appraise" the estate of the prominent James Rutledge on the South Branch.76 He also was among 4 men ordered to perform the same duty three months later for John Mitts' estate; but that time he did not participate in the final inventory and appraisal.77 Yet, he did so the next day for the estate of Henry Thorn. In that instance, Conrad and the other two were unable to complete their task for two years, bringing their appraisal back to the court on 27 April 1753.78

He expanded his community involvement somewhat that Spring of 1753 when, on 22 March, he took the oath required by his new commission as a militia Lieutenant in a company of foot soldiers.79 His appraisals of neighbors' estates continued. On 21 November 1753, Conrad and two nearby residents returned two appraisements for the unfortunate Scott family. Significant on each of these was Conrad's first recorded use of a signature "mark," a simple "C. H." between his first and surname that were written by someone else.80 After a year of no evidence of such activity, he and two neighbors returned their appraisal of Daniel Richardson's estate to the Augusta court on 5 March 1755.81 This proved to be Conrad's last documented public service.

Harness family historians and descendants have almost always dated Conrad's death as taking place shortly before February 1764; and they have pointed to his younger brother, John, as his estate administrator. They were wrong. Probably less than half a dozen have found an earlier date, but they never have made their case. Those who say 1764 think their documentation sound; and it is to a point. But, the point is that the administration bonded in February 1764 was the second administration of Conrad's estate, not the first Therefore, 1764 has no direct bearing on the year of Conrad's death. Those searchers just were not diligent enough, for the documents for the first one were in the same box as the documents for the second, just in a different envelope

Conrad Harness died some six years before 1764 The administrator's bond, the only document there seems to be, is dated 14 December 1757, and the administration was undertaken by Conrad's brother, Michael. We know this is his brother because Michael's signature "mark" is the same one that he used consistently on all Hampshire County documents: a somewhat large cross with a cross-arm that slopes slightly down on the right side.82

What errant Harness searchers failed to consider was that, when brother Michael himself was killed in 1763, a new Administrator would need to be appointed for Conrad's estate. Until that time, however, the management of Conrad's estate moved ahead. Probably somewhat slowed by actions during the waning years of the French and Indian War, George See and three other neighbors completed their appraisement of Conrad's estate and returned it to the Hampshire County Court on 11 May 1763. Their listing of personal clothing items was mentioned earlier as corroborating the existence of a wife and child.83 Then, the death of brother Michael the ensuing August necessitated the appointment of a second Administrator, which the Hampshire Court did on 15 February 1764 by appointing Conrad's brother, John, to that position.84 Later, on 12 December 1764, the Hampshire Court ordered a final settlement of the Conrad Harness Estate's previous administration [by Michael, Jr.] and the balance of £156-80-0 [Virginia pounds] turned over to John.85 A subsequent settlement was received and ordered recorded on 12 March 1765; and finally, on 10 March 1772, the court received the final account of Conrad's estate by John Harness. This seemed to contain the proceeds of rents and sales of some horses, all of which were examined and settled by officers of the court. There were no statements made as to the disposition of the estate's final balance of £162-19-0.86

Thus, the existing documents have told us these things about Conrad Harness: (1) that he, like his father first, was known on the South Branch as a Hoerner, at least for a short time; (2) that he probably was one of the two eldest sons of Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner, born in Pennsylvania in the 1720s; (3) that he was active in the public affairs of his area, especially making inventories and appraisements of estates of deceased neighbors; (4) that his own estate inventory supports the family tradition that he was married and had a child, but nothing exists to document the name of his wife or the gender of his child; (5) that he died 7 years earlier than nearly all family accounts have said; and (6) that his first estate administrator was his brother, Michael.

66. There is a distinct possibility that it may have been the first. This depends upon the final identification of the 'Michael Harness" who was in the Augusta County Court, May through August 1747, on an assault charge; and whether the Michael Harness appraising the John Bogard estate in 1747 and 1748, and the John Woolfallier estate in 1748, was the father or the son. If the son were either, then his name would have been first; if not, Conrad's would be. Unless original estate papers from these estates are found, we simply will not know. A few Harness family researchers cite a list, claiming to be an "Official Copy of First Census Taken in 1748," which contained Conrad's name as evidence that he was a resident of Frederick County on the South Branch, and in South Branch Manor, by that time. Unfortunately, that list has never been found in the archives where it was said to be, despite 20 years of searching by the archivist; letter, Rebecca A. Ebert to the author, August 31, 2000. Therefore, it cannot be considered a valid document.

67. "Coroner's Inquest on the South Branch, Augusta County, into the death of Samuel Decker, son of Garrett, 14 April 1749," in "Augusta County, Court Judgments; Original Petitions and Papers. Filed in the County Court" [see Lyman Chalkley, comp., Chronicles of the Scotch-lrish Settlement of Virginia; Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745-1800 (3 vols., Baltimore, 1965),1, p. 433].

68. Michael, the son, never was identified as a Hoerner in documents we have found, indicating only that confusion with his father through the use of the Hoerner surname did not happen.

69. John P. Alcock, "18th Century Virginia Law," Lecture to Friends of the Virginia State Archives, 17 November 1999.

70. Lancaster County was not formed as the 4th county of Pennsylvania until 10 May 1729. Until then the area was in Chester County.

71. "Appraisement of Estate of Conrad Harness" returned to the Hampshire Court, 11 May 1763, in Hampshire County Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 6 [5 pages]; [LDS microfilm # 0186352].

72. George Trumbo's undated interview in the Draper Manuscripts, 12CC, 113-114.

73. Conrad's sister, Margaretha, probably the youngest sister and not yet in her teens when Conrad and his family were killed, married Andrew Trumbo some 10 or 11 years after that event. George was their oldest child. That family moved to Kentucky m the late 1780s.

74. Helen Black, Letter to Jesse Cunningham, Honey Grove, Fanen[Fannin] Co., Tex[as], May 30, 1873. Two other letters attributed to her, dated October 29, 1872, and May 30, 1878[?1873], both tell slightly different, and less detailed, versions of family tradition, and those two seem to contain items added by others. William Fisher's letter was written 8 March 1879 and was copied into Lillie M. Cunningham's Journal on 16 March 1929. Lillie was from Moorefield, WV. Her great grandson, George Williams, transcribed the letter, information about which was provided by courtesy of Sara Stevens Patton.

75. The new Hampshire County was created in November, 1753, but did not control all county operations firmly until 1754 and 1755. Estate administrations begun before November, 1753, in Augusta County, were completed in that county even as late as 1755.

76. Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order Book 2, p. 491. Unfortunately, subsequent Augusta records don't seem to indicate a closure of this estate or Conrad's role in it.

77. "Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order, 26 Feb 1750/1," Order Book 2, p. 516; Augusta County, Will Book 1, p. 409. The date of the court order is given in the old calendar style. Then, New Year's day was 25 March, and all dates between 1 January and 24 March belong to the preceding year [1750, as opposed to 1751]. That changed in Great Britain and the colonies on 3 September 1752, which became 14 September to catch up with the rest of the world's calendar; and New Year's day changed to 01 January. The common county court practice in 18th century America was to order "any three of" 4 appointees to inventory and appraise an estate. Occasionally, however, one does find 4 signatures on the document.

78. Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order Book 2, p. 522. Conrad's surname was written as "Harness" when appointed, but as "Harnse" when it was entered into the record [an example of the problems of recognizing surnames written by clerks and copyists].

79. Augusta County, Virginia, Court Order Book 3, entry for 22 March 1753, n.p. Conrad was one of six militia officers taking the oath at this time. Regular militia service, of course, was required of all able-bodied males, who usually served on rotations throughout the year. Officers, often nominated by the members of a company or officers of the county, went through formal commissioning upon further recommendation by the governor of their colony.

80. "Appraisement of Estate of James Scot/Scott," 10 November 1753, and "Appraisement of Estate of Alexander Scott," 10 November 1753, Augusta County, Virginia, Will Book 1, pp. 527-528. The two appraisements, signed on the 10th were admitted to record 21 November. Conrad's brother, Michael, was surety for Benjamin Scot/Scott, Administrator of James' estate. Conrad's signature marks were entered into the will book by the clerk or copyist; unfortunately, that was an exception rather that the rule.

81. Augusta County, Virginia, Will Book 2, p. 95.

82. "Administrator's Bond of 'Michael + Harness [Jr.],'" 14 December 1757, Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 4 [LDS microfilm # 0186352].

83. See footnote 71, above. Earlier searchers, upon finding this appraisement, may have overlooked the fact at it came too early for the second administrator's bond.

84. "Administrator's Bond of 'John jH Harness,'" 15 February 1764, Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 6 [LDS microfilm # 0186352]. John's sureties were Michael See and Felix Seymour. John's appointment here and his surety for his sister-in-law, Catharine Harness's Administrator's Bond for the Estate of Michael Harness on 25 February 1764 is testimony that, now that Conrad, Michael, Jr., Adam and Jacob I were dead, John is senior among the sons. This refutes the statement made in the supposed 1878 Helen Black letter that John was "the first child," a statement used by several Harness descendants in their family ordering. Of course, that letter also has John marrying "Elizabeth Yookum," which is completely in error.

85. Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records as cited above in footnote 84. The court had appointed Felix Seymour, Jonathan Heath and Thomas Parsons to examine and sign the settleme
9 Jun 1731
Tulpehocken Creek, Berks co, Pa, Usa
14 Feb 1820
Mill Creek, Randolph co, Va, Usa
Abt 1750
Hampshire co, Va, Usa 
4 Apr 1734
Tulpehocken Creek Settlement, Stouchsburgh, Berks co, Pa, Usa
4 Jul 1808
Saint Clair co, Il, Usa
                   now Monroe county
Abt 1735
Tulpehocken Creek, Berks co, Pa, Usa
28 Apr 1810
Hardy co, Va, Usa
Hardy co, Va, Usa 
                   Dates of birth and deaths, names of wife and children from Harold D. Harness, The Harness Family History (Gateway Press, Baltimore 1983).

Captain of Virginia Militia in Revolutionary War.

Hardy County, West Virginia probate records: Will dated/probated(?) June 12, 1810; wife, Unice; sons, Adam, Joseph; daughters: Jemimah Cunningham, Elizabeth Welton, Hannah Hull, Sarah Cunningham.
Abt 1758
                   	1  CAUS Died after being bled.
John L. Tevebaugh


We need only state exactly the same thing about this first Jacob Harness that we stated about his brother, Adam. There is only one extant document relating to this Jacob Harness. That is the bond document for the Administrator of his estate, his father, "Michael ME Harness," who made his mark on the bond on 14 February 1759. The father's sureties were the omnipresent Henry Lancisco and Jacob's brother, "Michael + Harness, jr."98 A bond document, as pointed out previously, by its very nature, tells nothing other than the name of the deceased whose estate was to be administered and outlines the duties of the bonded Administrator. Consequently, this lone document tells us only that Jacob Harness was deceased, that his death had occurred sometime before 14 February 1759, and possibly as long as six months or so before that, and that Jacob had an estate that required administration

Yet, this document carries with it certain implications that are very significant about the life of Jacob. For one thing, it tells us that Jacob was, at his death, over 21 years of age, and quite probably a few years older. No male under 21 would have had a legal estate that the county government would cause to be administered, testate or not. A person had to be "of age," or an adult, to have legal recognition in 18th century Virginia.99 Chances are that Jacob was at least 25, that being the usual age to be the owner of real property. Being "of age" means that Jacob was born sometime before 1739 and probably as early as 1734 or so.

This, in turn, suggests that the comment made nearly 140 years later by Helen Yocum Black that Jacob "died from bleeding at the town where he married" may have been accurate and should have been heeded by descendants.100 Bleeding patients was a common medical practice in the 18th century and before, and was thought to relieve intense fevers and certain other illnesses and, therefore, to speed healing. It was done either by applying leeches to the skin, or by drawing blood to the skin's surface by cupping (creating a vacuum) and then lancing the skin to allow the "excess" blood to flow out. This was practiced widely throughout the colonies and in Western Europe at this time. The "Pennsylvania Dutch," to which group the Ernst/Harness family belonged, followed this tradition especially.101 We found ample evidence of this common practice when "Cupping lancets & Cups" appeared as an item in the Estate inventory of Michael Harness, Jr.102 A lancet in inexperienced hands could result in serious bleeding, and may have been the case in Jacob's death. Unfortunately, we probably will never know the cause of his death.103

Helen Black's letter is important to mention here because she has been virtually alone among all Harness descendants in saying that Jacob died as an adult, and that he was married. Nearly every other Harness searcher almost habitually has dismissed this first Jacob as having died in infancy, thereby removing him from further consideration. In fact, there are many "Family Group Sheets" that don't even acknowledge his existence, the authors perhaps confused by the appearance of a later Jacob among the sons. Even when included on an "FGS," writers often seem to shift the first Jacob around to suit their own imaginations of the family birth order.104 To compound their birth placement problems, most of these writers unwittingly place the birth of the second, and later, Jacob before the death of the first one, often by as many as 15 years, without realizing the implications of what they wrote.

This present study is the first one known to utilize the bond document of 14 February 1759 to document firmly the death of this first Jacob Harness, and to consider its implications, even though the date of this document has been mentioned by a handful of Harness researchers. The following study of the second Jacob Harness will focus on the impact of these implications. As a result, several previously accepted things about the second Jacob now will have to be revised.

What the 1758 death of the adult first Jacob Harness tells us is that he must have been older than his sister, Dorothea, and probably was born before the family moved from the Tulpehocken settlement in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to the South Branch of the Potomac River valley in Virginia. This death also tells us that the father shouldered a difficult burden in administering two estates of recently deceased sons at the same time. It reminds us, too, that Michael Ernst's son, Michael, and family friend, Henry Lancisco, were willing to provide monetary guarantees for the father's administration of both estates. What this bond document does not tell us is whether or when Jacob actually was married, whom he married, whether they had children, or exactly when and where he died.

98. "Administrator's Bond of Michael ME Harness," 14 February 1759, Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1735-1789, Box 1, Envelope 4; [LDS microfilm # 0186352.] The significance of this signature mark "ME," is explained in the section of this study about the father, Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner; the signature mark "+" between the "Michael" and the "Harness" in the section of this study about the son, Michael Harness, Jr. The spelling of Lancisco in this and other documents varies from "Lansiscus" to "Lansisco" to other minor forms. He had a long association with the family.

99. John P. Alcock, "18th Century Virginia Law," Lecture to Friends of the Virginia State Archives, 17 November 1999.

100. Helen Black, Letter to Jesse Cunningham, Honey Grove, Fanen [Fannin] Co., Tex[as], May 30,1873, original copy at Hardy County Public Library, Moorefield, West Virginia.

101. For the practice of bleeding among these German and Swiss immigrants, see Oscar Kuhns, The German and Swiss Settlements of Colonial Pennsylvania: A Study of the So-Called Pennsylvania Dutch (New York, 1901), p.103. "Dutch" as in this term and in the use by descendants of these families really was "Deutsch,'' or German.

102. "Appraisement of the Estate of Michael Harness, Jr.," 21-22 January 1765, in Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1736-1785, Box 1, Envelope 6 [LDS microfilm # 0186352].

103. Another, somewhat remote, possibility might have come about as a result of excessive pietistic religious fervor among some German immigrants. There was a major "outbreak" of this some few years later, centering in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, area, when the fainting or swooning that often accompanied sudden blood loss was thought to have religious manifestations. Public "Bleedings" under the care of certain doctors sometimes were referred to as a "strange infatuation" among some of the immigrants. See Kuhns, p. 103, and footnote 35.

104. It would have to be their imaginations of a birth order because there is only one documented birth year among the 11 children, that of Dorothea in 1741.
Abt 1737
Tulpehocken Creek, Berks co, Pa, Usa
Bef Feb 1759
                   	1  CAUS Killed and scalped by the Indians and carried to Fort. Died in presence of mothers.
John L. Tevebaugh


There is only one extant document relating directly to Adam Harness; that is the bond document for the Administrator of his estate, his father. "Michael ME Harness" made his mark on the bond on 14 February 1759. The father's sureties were the ubiquitous Henry Lancisco and Adam's brother, "Michael + Harness jr."87 A bond document, by its very nature, tells nothing other than the name of the deceased whose estate was to be administered, focusing instead on the particular duties expected of the Administrator. Therefore, this single document tells us only that Adam Harness was dead, and that his death occurred sometime before 14 February 1759, which possibly could have been as long as six months or more before.

Tim Thompson, a Harness descendant apparently of this Adam, has made careful analyses of surviving accounts by noncontemporary family members in an attempt to determine more nearly what happened to his ancestor and to his wife and children. There were two persons with significant original comments: Helen Black, who was introduced in the study of Conrad Harness, and George Trumbo, whose interview in the Draper Manuscripts was discussed also in that same study. George Yocum, a son of the Harness sister, Elizabeth, also had an interview in Draper, but he made only a single statement about the death of Michael.88 Thompson suggests that Trumbo's description of the death of Michael probably was a wrongly identified account of the death of Adam. Actually, neither description adds much of consequence to our knowledge of Adam Harness except to someone very particular about a few details of death and scalping. No dates, seasons or other family members were mentioned.

The question of a wife and children of Adam Harness needs to be considered. Although Trumbo and Yocum would have been in a good position to know, they were quiet on the subject. Helen Black, in her original [1873] letter, says only that she doesn't remember the wife's name. The "1872 letter" gets the offspring of Adam hopelessly confused with the children of his brother, Michael, and mentioned neither wife; that of "1878 [1873.?]" claims to have forgotten her name, and says nothing of children.89 The wife and children of Adam's brother, Michael, are specifically identified in the included study of Michael Harness. Adam's children, at least two of them, can be identified only by logical deduction. Because we have a fairly sound idea of the names, if not the personal data, of the children of each Harness son, we are left with two of the sons for whom no children's names are documented, or hardly even suggested: Jacob I and Adam. Because there has rarely been a reference made to a marriage for Jacob Harness I, let alone to any children, it seemed appropriate to delete him from consideration as the father of any children. This leaves Adam, but seemingly no idea of the children's names. Into this "void" Michael Ernst's last will and testament thrusts two names, "my Gran Son Michael Herness and his Sister Elizabeth Robinson." 90 The result is that logic, only, has dictated the selection of Adam as the father of this Michael and Elizabeth. There was no other son to whom these two children might belong.

What little we know of the early life of these two provide a nice fit for a young family of the years around 1750 on the South Branch of the Potomac. We do not know exactly when Michael was born, but we do know that his first wife, Catherine Pancake [Pannekuchen] was born in the summer of 1756,91 suggesting that he would have been a few years older. His sister, Elizabeth, also seems to have been born in the 1750s, as her marriage to John Robinson between 1773 and 1779 would suggest.92 Elizabeth Harness Robinson's later life is not well known. All we know at the time of this writing is that, in four Hardy County deeds each dated 20 March 1795, she and her husband, John, sold four lots that had been in the South Branch Manor, totaling 292 acres. Such a sale suggests, though the deeds do not so state, that the Robinsons were about to leave the valley of the South Branch.93

We know that Michael and Catherine were married by 1773, and that they had four children by 1784. A farmlet from Denny Fairfax on 28 May 1791 documents three of them, Catherine, Molly [Mary], and John.94 Documentation for the youngest, Job, as found in the records of Oak Grove Cemetery, Crawford County, Illinois, demonstrates that he was born 11 February 1784.95 Michael and Catherine moved to Ohio with the boys sometime after 1802, after which Catherine died. Michael then married a woman named Margaret, with whom he had a second family of seven children, Michael, Solomon, George, Elizabeth, Sarah, Mutildy [Matilda]" and Harriet. All eleven of Michael's children were living when he signed his will on 5 January 1825. It was proved on 4 May 1827.96

As mentioned at the outset, there exists nothing but the bond document of Adam's father, Michael Ernst, to testify to the death of Adam Harness, or for that matter to anything else about him. Yet, by its very nature, this document does say something else about the deceased. It tells us that he had achieved his majority before his death, for being 21 was necessary for him to acquire an estate in the first place, and gaining enough property to require administration. Also, this bond raises a question about his wife and mother of his probable children. Normally, administration was offered to the widow, especially when children were present. Since Adam's administration was placed with his father, one of two circumstances probably existed, the widow declined the administration; or, the wife died at or shortly after the time of death of her husband. Had she lived any length of time thereafter, say to perhaps 1770, her name might well have been remembered by other family members or been included in other court documents. As it was, she remained an unknown, and not referred to in extant documents by her children or the close relatives of her husband.

Some Harness descendants have maintained that Adam's wife was Sarah Kuykendall, daughter of Nathaniel. They then proceed to give him a birth year; and one even names his five children.97 Unfortunately, these descendants were blithely unaware that they were inserting the name of the wife of this Adam's nephew; and worse, they assigned the older Adam some children who belonged to that nephew, and some who belonged to other nephews, and one to a grandson. Had those descendants researched the available documents, instead of whatever they used, and not ignored the implications of the administrator's bond, which a handful found, they would not have created a nonexistent family.

Now, to recap for Adam Harness, son of Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner. We have but one existing document, the administrator's bond. It suggests certain things about his wife, but proves nothing. The names of his children are only a circumstance suggested by his father's later will and deduced from what little is really known about this family. No one can document the birth date or place of this Adam, his wife or his children. We do not know either parent's date or place of death We do not know her name. We do not know exactly when or where they or their children married. We know only what the extant document tells us.

87. "Administrator's bond of Michael ME Harness," 14 February 1759, Hampshire County, Virginia, Court Records, 1735-1789, Box I, Envelope 4 [LDS microfilm # 0186352]. The section of this study about Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner explains the significance of the signature mark, "ME," as identifying the father; the section about his son, Michael Harness, explains the cross as his signature mark. Henry Lancisco's surname is variously spelled in documents of that day, Lansiscus and Lansisco being the more common. He frequently shared bond surety and estate appraisal with members of this family. See John P. Alcock, "18th Century Virginia Law," Lecture to Friends of the Virginia State Archives, 17 November 1999, for certain legal requirements.

88. Helen Black, Letter to Jesse Cunningham, Honey Grove, Fanen[Fannin] Co., Tex[as], May 30,1873; and two other letters attributed to her, one dated October 29,1872, and said to be for America Ann Anderson, and the other dated May 30,1878 [perhaps a badly amended and generally less accurate version of the one of 1873] to Cunningham. Also, George Trumbo's undated interview in the Draper Manuscripts, 12CC, 113-114, pp.101-102; and George Yocum's interview, 12CC, 147, p.27.

89. Sara Patton presents an important, lengthy study of the second and third letters in The Letters of Helen Yocum Black; Transcripts and Footnotes by Sara Stevens Patton (November, 1999). This should be read and compared with the original letter, cited above in footnote 88; a copy of that letter is available at the Hardy County Public Library, Moorefield, West Virginia.

90. Will of "Michael ME Ernest," 1779 presented in Hampshire County, Virginia, Court on 8 March 1785, by John Harness, and proved by the Oaths of Joseph Petty and Jacob "Yoakam," in Hampshire County Probate Case Files, Romney, West Virginia. For extensive consideration of the father, see that section of this study.

91. Tohickon Lutheran Records (Lutheran Archives Center, Philadelphia), p. 363. This record states that she was "b. June 31 [sic.]; bap. Aug. 1756." First marriages, as this was, usually joined persons about five or so years apart in age. Of course, Michael would have had to be born by early 1759 at the latest.

92. The will of Michael Ernst cited above in footnote 90 demonstrates that she had married a Robinson; and John was the only one of several brothers with a wife of that name. An 1802 deed of Michael and Catherine makes reference to a 1773 farmlet from Lord Fairfax to Michael, Catherine, "and Elizabeth Harness Sister of the said Michael. . . ," testifying that she was not then married; see Hardy County, Virginia, Deed Book 5, pp. 474-477.

93. Hardy County, Virginia, Deed Book 4, pp. 4-12.

94. Hardy County, Virginia, Deed Book 2, p. 263. This farmlet, or lease, typical of the former ones, was to Michael for the "natural lives of" daughters Catherine and Molly, and son, John.

95. "More Decker Material", Northwest Trail Tracer [Knox Co., IN], XIV, No. 1 (March, 1993), p. 10. More about Job's life, and confirming identification of his parents is found in William H. Perrin, History of Crawford and Clark Counties. Illinois, Part II (1883), p. 276.

96. "Will of Michael Harness," 5 January 1825, Probate Records, Hamilton County, Ohio; courtesy of Richard M. Brown, who has collected considerable data for Michael, of whom he is a descendant. The will contains all the children's names separated into the two families and mentions Margaret as the surviving wife.

97. Harold Duncan Harness, A Glimpse of the Past: the Harness Family History (Gateway Press, Baltimore, c. 1983), p. 86. This book is littered with inaccuracies too numerous to mention. Other descendants are equally guilty. Perhaps it should be said on Harold's behalf, the "two certified researchers" he hired left him with an untenable genealogy. They greatly abused his trust, and dishonored the profession
2 Jan 1740
7 Apr 1823
Hampshire co, Va, Usa
                   or 2 Jan 1743
Frederick co, Va, Usa
21 Feb 1826
Fayette co, Oh, Usa
                   	1  PURC
	2  DATE 1814
	2  PLAC Fayette co, Ohio, USA
	2  NOTE 1100 acres of land Surveey 1271 of Edward Duff

Was lame.


Peter Harness (born about 1742 in Frederick County, VA and died about 1825 in Fayette County, Ohio). His wife was Susan Vause (or Vance), born about 1739 in Frederick County, VA, and died about 1805 in New Creek, Hardy County, WVA.

Peter Harness was one of the son's of Michael (Ernst) Harness who came to America as a German emigrant in 1710.

It would appear that Peter and his wife Susan, got married and raised their family in Virginia and that he came to Ohio some years following her death about 1805 in Virginia. Most if not all of his sons apparently either came with him to Ohio or joined him later, all settling in Fayette County, Ohio.

Census records indicate that Michael, John, George, Adam, Arthur and Peter, Jr. all spent some time in Ohio between about 1815 and 1830.

In the 1820 Fayette County census, 3 young males were living in the household of Peter Harness, Sr., who if his birth date is correct, would have been in his late 70s by that time. No females are listed as being members of the household. The boys are too young (apparently all in their teens) to have been any of his own children. Two of them may have been Frederick and Gideon Harness, the sons of John Harness who had died in 1818. Johns daughter, Elizabeth, had probably married William Creason by that time.

According to Fayette County, Ohio court records all three of Johns children were mentioned in Peters will as devisees, a legal term dating back to the 15th century meaning the recipient of real property according to a will. In 1838, Johns children went to Fayette County court to redeem 61 and a half acres of land along Sugar Creek that they said had been bequeathed to them in their grandfather Peters will, but had been sold in the interim to satisfy county tax claims. The court ruled in the childrens favor.

NOTE: Peter Harness will was probated Feb. 21, 1825 in Fayette County, Ohio. However, a fire in 1828 destroyed many of the county's records, including the will, according to the Fayette County Records and Archives Center.

Peter Harness, Jr. was listed in the 1820 census for Fayette County as having 4 sons and 6 daughters in his household, along with his wife.

Arthur Harness is listed in the 1820 Fayette County census as having two sons, and three daughters living in his household, along with his wife.

Susan and Peter Harness had 11 children in all: Michael, Elizabeth, George, Arthur, Margaret, Sarah, Susannah, Adam, Jacob, John and Peter, Jr.

(1) George Harness (born about 1768 in Hampshire County, Virginia), married Harriet Sowards, a native of Maryland. They stayed awhile in Ohio but moved on to Indiana where both died in Howard County, Indiana after raising 8 children.

(2) John Harness (born about 1770 in Hampshire County, Virginia) According to Fayette County, Ohio court records John Harness was killed by his brother, Michael in 1818 in Fayette County, Ohio. John had married Elinder Eleanor Troutwine in Virginia before coming to Ohio, and they had three children, Elizabeth, Frederick and Gideon, all apparently born in Fayette County, Ohio.

(3) Arthur Harness was born about 1772. He is listed in the 1820 Fayette County,Ohio census as having two sons and three daughters living in his household, along with his wife.

(4) Peter Harness, Jr. (born about 1773 in Hampshire County, VA), also spent some time in Ohio, along with his wife, Grace Conner, who was from either Pennsylvania or Kentucky. In the 1820 census, Peter, Jr. lived in Jefferson township, Fayette County, Ohio. Peter, Jr. did not show up again until the 1840 census, and by that time was living with his family in Pleasant township in LaPorte County, Indiana. He was also in the 1850 census at that location. He and his wife Grace both died in LaPorte County, Indiana. Some of the couples children were born in Ohio and others in Indiana.

(5) Margaret Harness was born about 1775, probably in Hampshire County, VA.

(6) Sarah Harness was born about 1776, probably in Hampshire County, VA.

(7) Susannah Harness was born about 1778, probably in Hampshire County, VA.

(8) Adam Harness was born about 1780 , most likely in Hampshire County, Virginia, died June 1, 1851 in Fayette County, Ohio) What is known of Adams life is rather bizarre. After he came to Ohio he apparently got involved at some point with a woman named Susanna Conner (daughter of John Conner and Sarah Trader). Susanna had previously been married to a man named Hopkins Rose and they had several children. She apparently married Rose in 1812, or so she later told a court, along with the information that her husband had died at or near Fayette County, Ohio in October of 1823.

According to Fayette County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas records (Minute Book B, page 117), on Feb. 25, 1830, the state of Ohio indicted Susannah Rose (or Rowe as she stated her last name at the time) and Adam Harness (at the time they were not married to each other) for adultery. Adam pleaded not guilty to that as well as a stabbing charge on the same date and on Feb. 26 the court ordered him discharged from custody (Fayette County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas records, Minute Book B, page 120).

Two years later, Susannah did in fact legally marry Adam. (Recorded in Fayette County, Ohio records, Book B, page 35). Susannahs sister, Grace, had been married to Adams brother, Peter Harness, Jr., for a number of years. Adam died in June, 1851, (according to Shook Cemetery records, Darke County, Ohio.) While he was still alive and apparently with his knowledge, Susannah filed for bounty land under the Act of 1850 saying that she was the widow of Hopkins Rose, that he had volunteered in Virginia, that she, as Susannah Conner had married him in 1812, and stated that he had died at or near Fayette County, OH in October of 1823. She did not mention that she was married to Adam Harness at the time she filed for the bounty land.

An affidavit from Adam Harness and James Conner (Susannahs brother) was also filed. Susannahs bounty land claim was rejected. Susannah died in August, less than two months after filing for the bounty land. Susannah may have had several illegitimate children before her legal marriage to Adam Harness.

(9) Michael Harness (born about 1783, probably in Hampshire County, Virginia) married Nancy Spahr in Virginia before coming to Ohio. Michael was indicted for manslaughter on June 25, 1818 in Fayette County, Ohio , charged with the death of his brother, John. He pleaded not guilty but reportedly fled with his wife Nancy back to Virginia before his trial on the charges..

(10) Jacob Harness was born April 3, 1785, probably in Hampshire County, Virginia, and died April 6, 1840. He married Christina Smith. (She was a witness to the incident that led to the manslaughter charge being brought against Jacobs brother Michael in 1818 in connection with the killing of John Harness.)

(11) Elizabeth Harness (her birth and death dates are unknown.) She married George Coyle (Coil).
Abt 1743
Frederick co, Va, Usa
Bourbon co, Ky, Usa
Hampshire co, Va, Usa 
                   or 1794
16 May 1749
Frederick co, Va, Usa
15 Oct 1827
Bath co, Ky, Usa
22 Apr 1773
Hampshire co, Va, Usa 
                   Decribed by her husband as "a little blue-eyed red headed woman who could whip her weight in wildcats"
Aft 1758
Hampshire co, Va, Usa
Lewis co, Va, Usa
14 Oct 1801
Hardy co, Va, Usa 
John L. Tevebaugh


The death of the first Jacob Harness at the end of 1758 or the very beginning of 1759 has very important implications for what we know of the life of the second Jacob Harness. The most important seems to be a more accurate determination of the age of the second.

As researchers of German immigrant families in the American colonies in the 18th century know, the death of a son or daughter in a family very often was followed by the naming of the next-born infant of the same gender for the departed child. This was a familiar custom in families of other national origins, but it was a "trademark" among German families.

This custom, applied to the German immigrant family of Elisabetha and Michael Ernst [Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner], strongly suggests that their second son named Jacob [here referred to as Jacob (II)] must have been born at or just after the end of 1758, for the duplicate naming of live children was quite rare among these families. A birth at this time has important ramifications for the genealogy of this family. For one thing, it would mean that Elisabetha would have been 53 when this second Jacob was born, for she had been born/baptized on 07 August 1705.105 Admittedly, this was an advanced age to bear children, but not unknown. This is implied by other circumstances in the family, and not documented. As yet, there is no other evidence; or is there? 106

Later events in the family's history also strongly support the suggestion of a later, by as much as a decade, date of birth for the second Jacob. A 1758 birth would make him conveniently 21 when Michael Ernst drew his will, a will for which none of the usual reasons were present. He was not ill, and had not been; in the will itself he even comments on his "Good health at present." What Michael does say is that he wanted to dispose of his affairs in a manner to prevent "any Dispute, or Lawsuits" after his death. After specifying Elizabeth's one-third, Michael deliberately mentions that he had "before in Former Times" given "my Elder Sons . . . Land and other Necasaries[sic.]." He orders the division of remaining money equally among all the living children by name. However, he devises everything else -- land, livestock, buildings and slaves -- to this "you[n]gest son Jacob." There seems no doubt that Michael was taking every legal step to assure young Jacob a full inheritance. Michael followed the enumeration of Jacob's inheritance in the will, late the next year, by giving Jacob the lease to Michael's 249 acres of land on the South Branch.107

A second set of later circumstances supporting a later birth for the second Jacob Harness are the times of his two marriages and the births of his children. We have been left no documented specific dates for his first marriage, said to have been to Eunice Petty, the niece of his brother John's wife; nor do their three daughters have confirmed birth dates. The marriage date of daughter Sarah (1820),108 and the approximate life dates of daughter Mary Ann (1790-1881?), coupled with the death of Eunice before 1801, strongly place their births in the 1790s, suggesting again that this second Jacob probably married first in his mid to late twenties, in the 1780s, a common occurrence then. Jacob married again on 14 Oct 1801, in Hardy County, to Elizabeth Rohrbaugh,109 and they subsequently had two children of their own.

Several things, therefore, support a much later birth year for the second Jacob Harness: (1) the 1758/59 death of the first Jacob; (2) the German practice of naming later children for those who had died; (3) the father's drawing his will at a time when he was not, and apparently had not been, seriously ill, but at a time which coincided with his much youngest son attaining his majority; (4) the late first marriage of this second Jacob; and (5) the late probable birth dates of his first three children.

The purpose of this study of Jacob (II) Harness was not intended to go beyond recognizing, for logical, common sense reasons, that this son probably was born much later than always thought; and that a later birth better explains both of his marriages, as well as explaining his father drafting a will several years before his death and when he was not ill.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about both of the foregoing studies is that no new documentary evidence was utilized. These sources have been around for as long as the events described. They even have been available in books or on microfilm for nearly half a century. The family in question has deserved far better from its historians than that. Yet, it is not too late to repair this and the dozens of other problems similarly ignored over those years by those historians. With careful research, this Harness family could still have an accurate history.

105. Reformed Churchbook of Wiesloch [6908], Baden, Germany. Then she was Maria Elisabetha Dieffenbach; later she was a neighbor of Michael Ernst on the Tulpehocken in Chester/Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She is considered in detail in another study in this series.

106. One or two Harness researchers have begun to advance another explanation for Jacob (II) that would eliminate the problem of Elizabeth giving birth at an age rather advanced for childbearing. One, a Harness descendant Tim Thompson, suggests that this second Jacob was a Harness, but that he could have been the son of Jacob (I). This would allow for the birth of a namesake anytime after about 1755 to Jacob's yet unidentified wife. That, in turn, suggests that she, too, died before 1759. Such an explanation is only circumstantial, and lacking further support. Until further documented support is found, this explanation must be held in abeyance. Other strong suggestions, found in Michael's will, lead to interesting deductions. Basically. however. there is a lack of any documentation.

107. Hampshire County, Virginia, Deed Book 5, p. 153.

108. Hardy County marriages, No. 481, Sarah Harness to William Snodgrass, 1820, by Benedict Reynolds, as listed in E.L. Judy, History of Grant and Hardy Counties. West Virginia (Charleston, c. 1951), p. 86.

109. Ibid., p. 78; married by Ferdinand Lair.
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Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner - Maria Elizabetha Dieffenbach

Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner was born at Unter-Owisheim, Karlsruhe, Baden-Wrttemberg, Deutschland (Germany) 1701. His parents were Joachim Ernst Kraft Hrner and Appollonia .

He married Maria Elizabetha Dieffenbach Abt 1725 at Pa, Usa . Maria Elizabetha Dieffenbach was born at Abt 1705 .

They were the parents of 13 children:
Michael Harness born 1725.
Elizabeth Harness born 1727.
Conrad Harness born Abt 1728.
Barbara Rebecca Harness born 9 Jun 1731.
Leonard Harness born 4 Apr 1734.
John Harness born Abt 1735.
Jacob Harness born 1736.
Adam Harness born Abt 1737.
George Harness born 2 Jan 1740.
Peter Harness born 1742.
Dorothy ÒDollyÓ Harness born Abt 1743.
Margaretha Catherine Harness born 16 May 1749.
Jacob Harness born Aft 1758.

Johann Michael Ernst Hoerner died Mar 1785 at Hardy co, Va, Usa .

Maria Elizabetha Dieffenbach died 1796 at Hardy co, Va, Usa .